The Political Science department has instituted five specialized tracks that help students choose courses that conform to their desired career paths. Under this program, majors can choose a track to pursue and select from an array of courses within each track to satisfy its requirements. These tracks allow students to specialize in a particular area of Political Science in preparation for their career or graduate studies.
International Strategy and Diplomacy is designed for majors interested in international/comparative-related careers such as diplomacy and risk analysis, and includes courses on comparative politics, international relations, national security, human rights, etc.
Legal Studies is an ideal track for those interested in law school because courses there cover constitutional law, international law, and jurisprudence, for example.
The Political Strategy track may be an option for those interested in political and campaign management and features courses on topics such as campaigns and elections, the political role of the media, and state and local government.
Research and Analysis, a fourth track, may be the choice of those going on to graduate work in social sciences. It includes course electives in areas such as survey research, experimental methods, and qualitative methods.
Global Development, the final track, is an option particularly for students interested in political and economic development, with courses on subjects such as regional or country-specific politics, political economy, terrorism, etc.
Similarly, new minors have been introduced that allow students in Political Science or in other majors to complete minors in areas including Legal Studies, Political Strategy, or International Strategy and Diplomacy. These minors supplement students' current majors with specific emphases that help them acquire knowledge in more concentrated tracks, and also aid employers in understanding the students' experience and skills.
The Political Science Tracks are not required, but highly recommended. Upon completion of a track, the student will receive a Certificate of Completion that can be placed on a wall next to the student's undergraduate or graduate diploma.
The Political Science major is designed to fulfill the admonition of the Doctrine and Covenants (88:79-80) to teach one another “things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms that ye may be prepared in all things . . .”
Politics extends far beyond the immediate concerns of politicians or pollsters; it is essential to the human condition. Since we are all shaped by the institutions we inhabit, political science helps us to understand not only our world but ourselves. It involves fundamental choices concerning our life in communities whether locally, nationally, or globally. Without politics there could be only chaos and conflict. With politics there is the chance for order and thus the opportunity to seek prosperity and fulfillment. Often conflictual but just as often cooperative, politics reflects our basic needs and interests, our highest aspirations, and the often harsh requirements of power.
Political Science involves this full range of inquiry, including questions of “who gets what,” questions of the best or most just political order, and questions of the nature, uses, and abuses of power. Political Science students will be exposed to a broad range of perspectives or great ideas about politics to better understand questions such as “Why is campaign finance reform so difficult?” “Why did the Soviet Union fall?” “Were the Athenians justified in condemning Socrates to death?” and “Do democracies fight fewer wars?” Students will learn a variety of methods ranging from statistical analysis of quantifiable data to historical comparison of institutions to reflection on influential texts. Before graduating, students will not only better define their own values and ideas
about politics but also develop their own significant research project as political scientists. Students will be prepared “in all things” to influence their communities for the better.